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I was watching the Haven prices carefully as our Oct 13 departure date to Bermuda neared and prices began to drop. I was hoping for an Aft Haven Penthouse, but that price did not drop to what I felt I could afford. About a month before our sail date, I called NCL and upgraded our Aft cabin to a Haven Forward Facing Penthouse H7. Be it known that I am far from wealthy and have not cruised or taken a major vacation since 2008 because of tight finances, but things have improved enough that I felt I could splurge on this trip. I know everyone wonders about what things cost, so I will tell all. I originally paid a total of 3,613.00 for two guests in the Aft balcony cabin (if this seems like a lot, please know that NCL charges more for aft rooms due to the panoramic views), this total included taxes, port fees, tips, 3 specialty dinners, beverage package, $100 off excursions for 2 and a $100 on-board credit. I upgraded to the Haven for an additional $600 pp. Bringing my total for a Haven penthouse to 4,813 or 2,406.00 pp (I kept all my perks, except for the $100 on-board credit, so you can add $100 to my total if you wish). On most NCL Escape NY/Bermuda itineraries, this penthouse sells for about $3,800 pp, so I felt I got a great deal and I was thrilled to have an opportunity to experience the Haven. Boarding was a breeze, we arrived at about 11am and were escorted as Haven guests to a private room where our id cards were issued, we barely had time for a sip of water, before being asked to come aboard. My husband was so excited he seemed quite tongue tied when an NCL worker flirted with him… I assure you, this is far from his normal self. It probably took less than 20 minutes from entering the terminal to getting on the ship. We were brought to the Haven proper on deck 17 and given an overview of how things worked and invited to lunch at the Haven Restaurant or at Margaritaville. My husband and I had a martini at the Haven Bar and were offered a snack of sliders and fries. Although our cabins were not officially ready, we were able to drop off our carry-on luggage. The cabin Room 9706 was absolutely everything we had hoped for. The living room was spacious with an eating area, bar space, sofa and chairs… loved the fresh flowers and the chocolate covered strawberries. Big TV in living room, smaller one in bedroom… Movies were free for Haven guests. We enjoyed the Nespresso machine every day and I may even ask for one as a Christmas gift. The bedroom had a king bed and more storage than we knew what to do with. It was the beautiful bathroom with its double sinks and separate soaking tub and fancy shower that really made me happy. Every time I looked at it, I smiled at how pretty and sophisticated it was. I chose a cabin on deck 9 because my other travelling companions were on that deck, in hindsight I would choose a higher deck for a better view and to be a little closer to the Haven on 17. I knew when I booked this room that people had complained about the view and the small balcony. I concur… the bedroom window overlooked the bow of the ship, not the ocean and the balcony was rather small and a bit obstructed. However, this did not stop me from enjoying my balcony every day (even when it was a bit rainy). The room was so quiet that I assumed (incorrectly) that no one was in the cabins next to us. After dropping our stuff, we decided to enjoy the great outdoors and a Margarita. Joined by one of our traveling companions, we had some exceptionally good Margaritas, while lunching on a cheeseburger, fish and chips and a fish taco, the food was okay to good. I will mention that twice while on this cruise I observed the Margaritaville hostess being less than hospitable to some people. After lunch everyone went back to their cabins to freshen up and we agreed to meet after the muster at H2O in the aft for the sail away. The gang (1 couple and 1 good pal) were lucky enough to snag loungers against the back rail and we got to enjoy that spectacular aft panorama and some more martinis. Meals on the Norwegian Escape We had some very nice dinners and lunches in the free Manhattan, Taste and Savor restaurants and everything was delicious and very nicely presented. I think that NCL has improved its food since I last sailed (10 years ago). The service did not seem slow and the staff was very attentive and accommodating, I am not sure if this is because our cards identified us as Haven guests, but we always made reservations for our group of 5 with our Haven card - with the hopes of receiving excellent service. Lunch at the Irish Pub O’shannahans was disappointing, maybe I just don’t really like pub food that much, but this was the only disappointing food I had on the ship and I made it a point not to return. I did not get an opportunity to eat at the buffet, but my traveling companions enjoyed the Indian cuisine and the breakfasts. We did dress up (or not) night at Cagney’s (specialty restaurant) and everyone had a great meal. I really enjoyed Le Bistro (specialty restaurant), it was the only place that served a really good crème brulee. We also tried the Brazilian Steak House, Moderna (specialty restaurant) where the boys ate enormous quantities of meat, while my girlfriend and I took advantage of the huge variety at the salad bar. Meals at the Haven Restaurant were just lovely and everything you might expect them to be. We did one romantic dinner outside, watching the sun set and on the last night… for an extra fee ($35pp) I was able to invite my friends to join us for dinner in the Haven restaurant, this was a wonderful farewell meal. My guests seemed happily impressed with the food and service, so I feel sure they will seriously consider travelling in the Haven next time. I was incredibly pleased to be able to share some of the Haven experience with them and would like to thank concierge Daniella for helping to make it happen. For me, some of the best meals I had on the ship were breakfast in the Haven Restaurant… the scallop and lobster eggs benedict and the avocado toast will probably never be topped as the best breakfasts I have ever had. I had hoped to eat at the Food Republic, but we just never managed to fit it in. It should be noted that we took full advantage of the beverage package and drank a great deal. We also brought some wine and paid the corkage fee. Night life We tended to eat early and see early shows, I always intended to party on into the night, but my bedtime is usually 9ish and more often than not, I was ready to retire around that time. In hindsight I would book everything a bit later and have a siesta around 4 or 5. I did not manage to party into the night, but my husband and his buddy would stay up dancing and drinking quite late, in fact one night they came home at 3 am. And I am pretty sure that what ever happens at the Glow Party, stays in the Glow Party… something to do with blue liquors. Really enjoyed the shows: Choir of Men was very good and some in our party went to see it twice, but After Midnight is a Broadway caliber show with awesome music, costumes, acting and dancing. None of the comedy shows really turned my key, but maybe I was just too tired to enjoy them as others in my group really liked them. The Spa I purchased the weekly Thermal Spa pass online. Its expensive, so I made sure that we used it every day. The Spa is wonderful, the heated, ceramic loungers looking out over the ocean were wonderful and very relaxing. I did totally fall asleep there (more than once). The wave pool was great, with its waterfall massage feature and strong jets – perfect for sore muscles. The Haven Proper Because we were traveling with folks who were not in the Haven we did not spend that much time in the special Haven pool area (with its retractable roof). Quite a few of the Haven guests had children with them and although the kids were very well behaved, they could reliably be found in the pool, which did not really make me want to jump in. It was lovely to read quietly in a soft lounger with a Haven server occasionally checking on me and asking if I wanted a drink or a snack. Bermuda and excursions This was my 3rd time to Bermuda, I like it 100% more than the Bahamas where the poverty is so extreme. Bermuda is picture perfect and the people seem happy and to be doing well economically. I have never been treated rudely or aggressively in Bermuda and I feel very safe there. Day one, we opted for the NCL catamaran sail, snorkel and rum swizzle excursion. Had a great time, but the little reef we were taken to was small and there were not too many interesting fish (cannot really be compared to the truly amazing coral reefs of the Bahamas). The crew suggested that there was better snorkeling to be had about 4 miles out, we did not have time to arrange for that, but next visit I will make sure to choose a more adventurous snorkel excursion further out. The rum swizzles were fun and extra pours were to be had for those who like to tip a little extra - we were feeling no pain when we made dry land a few hours later. Day two, we all got bus passes and traveled to the Crystal Caves. In hindsight, the price of day passes for 5 people was probably more than a taxi would have been, but we were too happy and excited to think about such things. Oddly enough while waiting for the bus I met two ladies from my small home town in Canada (talk about a small world!) There are two caves, I recommend doing just the Crystal Cave. After the caves we took a bus to St. Georges and caught the NCL ferry back to the dock at King’s Wharf. There were some Royal Caribbean passengers that were quite jealous that NCL guests had their own ferry back (Well done NCL!) Met some nice fellow cruisers on the ferry back and we would meet up again for drinks on the ship. Day three, I abandoned the gang and did some sketching and watercolors on and near the ship. Also did a bit of last minute shopping. Bought a cotton scarf/shawl and some rum cakes for gifts to the office folk and my dear, sweet, cat sitter. Make sure you are back on board by 2, or the ship will sail without you! We went back to Margaritaville for the Bermuda sail away and it was fun to watch some people running to catch the ship last minute. I should mention here that there were special Haven guides available at busy boarding and disembarking times to escort you on and off the ship via the service elevator so that one did not have to break a leg on the stairs or wait for the incredibly busy elevators during the heavy traffic of peak times The Butler The Haven Penthouse comes with a butler. Ours was Bagus (aka. Goose). I was not sure I would know what to do with a butler, but I did my darn tooting best. He brought us snacks every day and quickly learned what we liked best. We asked him to empty the fridge and for a pitcher of Orange juice so that my husband could indulge when ever he wished. We also asked him to bring us breakfast in the room one morning (nice hot omelets). I wanted to have a little cocktail party in the cabin and Bagus made sure we had more Orange juice for the mimosas and that there were extra sandwiches, strawberries and fancy chocolates. Bagus also helped us out when one of our companions locked themselves out of their room… I just gave him a call (the room comes with a special NCL mobile phone) and he immediately arranged to have someone come and open the door. Bagus helped make our trip an absolute delight and we really enjoyed meeting him. Extra expenses I always expect to have extra expenses, but this trip did not really have too many. There was an extra $18 pp fee each day to cover tips for all the folks who work so hard behind the scenes. I also budgeted for tipping in cash for great service around the ship and for the bulter, steward and concierge. I had intended to gamble, but somehow never got around to it, so came home all the richer for that. Disembarking We were given pretty, gold priority tags for our luggage which we placed outside the night before NY arrival. The next morning were escorted off the ship. (The concierge warned us to just put on our New York attitude if we encountered any disgruntled folks in lineups. And we needed that advice, as some people waiting for terminal elevators were annoyed that we jumped the line). In response, our escort just shook her Haven sign at them and ignored the grumblings that ‘it was not fair’. This did give me pause and make me wonder if it was fair. Yes, I had paid a premium to be treated as a special guest, but I could not help feeling a little guilty, rather than entitled when given priority over other guests. Overall I would say this trip was a really special and well worth the time and expense. The NCL staff were exceptional and treated us like royalty every day. It is true what they say, ‘that once you experience the Haven, it will be very difficult to go back. Alas, it is time to return to real life, but at least I have the memories of being a VIP for an entire week.

Treated like royalty

Norwegian Escape Cruise Review by BellaBeauBean

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2019
  • Destination: Bermuda
  • Cabin Type: The Haven Forward-facing Penthouse with Balcony
I was watching the Haven prices carefully as our Oct 13 departure date to Bermuda neared and prices began to drop. I was hoping for an Aft Haven Penthouse, but that price did not drop to what I felt I could afford. About a month before our sail date, I called NCL and upgraded our Aft cabin to a Haven Forward Facing Penthouse H7. Be it known that I am far from wealthy and have not cruised or taken a major vacation since 2008 because of tight finances, but things have improved enough that I felt I could splurge on this trip.

I know everyone wonders about what things cost, so I will tell all. I originally paid a total of 3,613.00 for two guests in the Aft balcony cabin (if this seems like a lot, please know that NCL charges more for aft rooms due to the panoramic views), this total included taxes, port fees, tips, 3 specialty dinners, beverage package, $100 off excursions for 2 and a $100 on-board credit. I upgraded to the Haven for an additional $600 pp. Bringing my total for a Haven penthouse to 4,813 or 2,406.00 pp (I kept all my perks, except for the $100 on-board credit, so you can add $100 to my total if you wish). On most NCL Escape NY/Bermuda itineraries, this penthouse sells for about $3,800 pp, so I felt I got a great deal and I was thrilled to have an opportunity to experience the Haven.

Boarding was a breeze, we arrived at about 11am and were escorted as Haven guests to a private room where our id cards were issued, we barely had time for a sip of water, before being asked to come aboard. My husband was so excited he seemed quite tongue tied when an NCL worker flirted with him… I assure you, this is far from his normal self. It probably took less than 20 minutes from entering the terminal to getting on the ship.

We were brought to the Haven proper on deck 17 and given an overview of how things worked and invited to lunch at the Haven Restaurant or at Margaritaville. My husband and I had a martini at the Haven Bar and were offered a snack of sliders and fries. Although our cabins were not officially ready, we were able to drop off our carry-on luggage.

The cabin

Room 9706 was absolutely everything we had hoped for. The living room was spacious with an eating area, bar space, sofa and chairs… loved the fresh flowers and the chocolate covered strawberries. Big TV in living room, smaller one in bedroom… Movies were free for Haven guests. We enjoyed the Nespresso machine every day and I may even ask for one as a Christmas gift. The bedroom had a king bed and more storage than we knew what to do with.

It was the beautiful bathroom with its double sinks and separate soaking tub and fancy shower that really made me happy. Every time I looked at it, I smiled at how pretty and sophisticated it was. I chose a cabin on deck 9 because my other travelling companions were on that deck, in hindsight I would choose a higher deck for a better view and to be a little closer to the Haven on 17.

I knew when I booked this room that people had complained about the view and the small balcony. I concur… the bedroom window overlooked the bow of the ship, not the ocean and the balcony was rather small and a bit obstructed. However, this did not stop me from enjoying my balcony every day (even when it was a bit rainy). The room was so quiet that I assumed (incorrectly) that no one was in the cabins next to us.

After dropping our stuff, we decided to enjoy the great outdoors and a Margarita. Joined by one of our traveling companions, we had some exceptionally good Margaritas, while lunching on a cheeseburger, fish and chips and a fish taco, the food was okay to good. I will mention that twice while on this cruise I observed the Margaritaville hostess being less than hospitable to some people. After lunch everyone went back to their cabins to freshen up and we agreed to meet after the muster at H2O in the aft for the sail away. The gang (1 couple and 1 good pal) were lucky enough to snag loungers against the back rail and we got to enjoy that spectacular aft panorama and some more martinis.

Meals on the Norwegian Escape

We had some very nice dinners and lunches in the free Manhattan, Taste and Savor restaurants and everything was delicious and very nicely presented. I think that NCL has improved its food since I last sailed (10 years ago). The service did not seem slow and the staff was very attentive and accommodating, I am not sure if this is because our cards identified us as Haven guests, but we always made reservations for our group of 5 with our Haven card - with the hopes of receiving excellent service. Lunch at the Irish Pub O’shannahans was disappointing, maybe I just don’t really like pub food that much, but this was the only disappointing food I had on the ship and I made it a point not to return. I did not get an opportunity to eat at the buffet, but my traveling companions enjoyed the Indian cuisine and the breakfasts. We did dress up (or not) night at Cagney’s (specialty restaurant) and everyone had a great meal. I really enjoyed Le Bistro (specialty restaurant), it was the only place that served a really good crème brulee. We also tried the Brazilian Steak House, Moderna (specialty restaurant) where the boys ate enormous quantities of meat, while my girlfriend and I took advantage of the huge variety at the salad bar.

Meals at the Haven Restaurant were just lovely and everything you might expect them to be. We did one romantic dinner outside, watching the sun set and on the last night… for an extra fee ($35pp) I was able to invite my friends to join us for dinner in the Haven restaurant, this was a wonderful farewell meal. My guests seemed happily impressed with the food and service, so I feel sure they will seriously consider travelling in the Haven next time. I was incredibly pleased to be able to share some of the Haven experience with them and would like to thank concierge Daniella for helping to make it happen. For me, some of the best meals I had on the ship were breakfast in the Haven Restaurant… the scallop and lobster eggs benedict and the avocado toast will probably never be topped as the best breakfasts I have ever had. I had hoped to eat at the Food Republic, but we just never managed to fit it in. It should be noted that we took full advantage of the beverage package and drank a great deal. We also brought some wine and paid the corkage fee.

Night life

We tended to eat early and see early shows, I always intended to party on into the night, but my bedtime is usually 9ish and more often than not, I was ready to retire around that time. In hindsight I would book everything a bit later and have a siesta around 4 or 5. I did not manage to party into the night, but my husband and his buddy would stay up dancing and drinking quite late, in fact one night they came home at 3 am. And I am pretty sure that what ever happens at the Glow Party, stays in the Glow Party… something to do with blue liquors.

Really enjoyed the shows: Choir of Men was very good and some in our party went to see it twice, but After Midnight is a Broadway caliber show with awesome music, costumes, acting and dancing. None of the comedy shows really turned my key, but maybe I was just too tired to enjoy them as others in my group really liked them.

The Spa

I purchased the weekly Thermal Spa pass online. Its expensive, so I made sure that we used it every day. The Spa is wonderful, the heated, ceramic loungers looking out over the ocean were wonderful and very relaxing. I did totally fall asleep there (more than once). The wave pool was great, with its waterfall massage feature and strong jets – perfect for sore muscles.

The Haven Proper

Because we were traveling with folks who were not in the Haven we did not spend that much time in the special Haven pool area (with its retractable roof). Quite a few of the Haven guests had children with them and although the kids were very well behaved, they could reliably be found in the pool, which did not really make me want to jump in. It was lovely to read quietly in a soft lounger with a Haven server occasionally checking on me and asking if I wanted a drink or a snack.

Bermuda and excursions

This was my 3rd time to Bermuda, I like it 100% more than the Bahamas where the poverty is so extreme. Bermuda is picture perfect and the people seem happy and to be doing well economically. I have never been treated rudely or aggressively in Bermuda and I feel very safe there.

Day one, we opted for the NCL catamaran sail, snorkel and rum swizzle excursion. Had a great time, but the little reef we were taken to was small and there were not too many interesting fish (cannot really be compared to the truly amazing coral reefs of the Bahamas). The crew suggested that there was better snorkeling to be had about 4 miles out, we did not have time to arrange for that, but next visit I will make sure to choose a more adventurous snorkel excursion further out. The rum swizzles were fun and extra pours were to be had for those who like to tip a little extra - we were feeling no pain when we made dry land a few hours later.

Day two, we all got bus passes and traveled to the Crystal Caves. In hindsight, the price of day passes for 5 people was probably more than a taxi would have been, but we were too happy and excited to think about such things. Oddly enough while waiting for the bus I met two ladies from my small home town in Canada (talk about a small world!) There are two caves, I recommend doing just the Crystal Cave. After the caves we took a bus to St. Georges and caught the NCL ferry back to the dock at King’s Wharf. There were some Royal Caribbean passengers that were quite jealous that NCL guests had their own ferry back (Well done NCL!) Met some nice fellow cruisers on the ferry back and we would meet up again for drinks on the ship.

Day three, I abandoned the gang and did some sketching and watercolors on and near the ship. Also did a bit of last minute shopping. Bought a cotton scarf/shawl and some rum cakes for gifts to the office folk and my dear, sweet, cat sitter. Make sure you are back on board by 2, or the ship will sail without you! We went back to Margaritaville for the Bermuda sail away and it was fun to watch some people running to catch the ship last minute.

I should mention here that there were special Haven guides available at busy boarding and disembarking times to escort you on and off the ship via the service elevator so that one did not have to break a leg on the stairs or wait for the incredibly busy elevators during the heavy traffic of peak times

The Butler

The Haven Penthouse comes with a butler. Ours was Bagus (aka. Goose). I was not sure I would know what to do with a butler, but I did my darn tooting best. He brought us snacks every day and quickly learned what we liked best. We asked him to empty the fridge and for a pitcher of Orange juice so that my husband could indulge when ever he wished. We also asked him to bring us breakfast in the room one morning (nice hot omelets). I wanted to have a little cocktail party in the cabin and Bagus made sure we had more Orange juice for the mimosas and that there were extra sandwiches, strawberries and fancy chocolates. Bagus also helped us out when one of our companions locked themselves out of their room… I just gave him a call (the room comes with a special NCL mobile phone) and he immediately arranged to have someone come and open the door. Bagus helped make our trip an absolute delight and we really enjoyed meeting him.

Extra expenses

I always expect to have extra expenses, but this trip did not really have too many. There was an extra $18 pp fee each day to cover tips for all the folks who work so hard behind the scenes. I also budgeted for tipping in cash for great service around the ship and for the bulter, steward and concierge. I had intended to gamble, but somehow never got around to it, so came home all the richer for that.

Disembarking

We were given pretty, gold priority tags for our luggage which we placed outside the night before NY arrival. The next morning were escorted off the ship. (The concierge warned us to just put on our New York attitude if we encountered any disgruntled folks in lineups. And we needed that advice, as some people waiting for terminal elevators were annoyed that we jumped the line). In response, our escort just shook her Haven sign at them and ignored the grumblings that ‘it was not fair’. This did give me pause and make me wonder if it was fair. Yes, I had paid a premium to be treated as a special guest, but I could not help feeling a little guilty, rather than entitled when given priority over other guests.

Overall

I would say this trip was a really special and well worth the time and expense. The NCL staff were exceptional and treated us like royalty every day. It is true what they say, ‘that once you experience the Haven, it will be very difficult to go back. Alas, it is time to return to real life, but at least I have the memories of being a VIP for an entire week.
BellaBeauBean’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

The Haven Forward-facing Penthouse with Balcony
Cabin H7 9706
Room 9706 was absolutely everything we had hoped for. The living room was spacious with an eating area, bar space, sofa and chairs… loved the fresh flowers and the chocolate covered strawberries. Big TV in living room, smaller one in bedroom… Movies were free for Haven guests. We enjoyed the Nespresso machine every day and I may even ask for one as a Christmas gift. The bedroom had a king bed and more storage than we knew what to do with. It was the beautiful bathroom with its double sinks and separate soaking tub and fancy shower that really made me happy. Every time I looked at it, I smiled at how pretty and sophisticated it was. I chose a cabin on deck 9 because my other travelling companions were on that deck, in hindsight I would choose a higher deck for a better view and to be a little closer to the Haven on 17. I knew when I booked this room that people had complained about the view and the small balcony. I concur… the bedroom window overlooked the bow of the ship, not the ocean and the balcony was rather small and a bit obstructed. However, this did not stop me from enjoying my balcony every day (even when it was a bit rainy). The room was so quiet that I assumed (incorrectly) that no one was in the cabins next to us.
Deck 14 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins